Having a strong brand has never been more important and two of Canada’s Big 6 banks have been rated as the most valuable brands in the country.
The Brandz Top 40 Most Valuable Canadian Brands rankings from research firm Kantar Canada and communications business WPP reveals that RBC and TD Bank are the overall leaders.
It puts the banks and mortgage lenders ahead of rivals including Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC, who also make the top 10; but also means that RBC and TD are more valuable than Bell, Rogers, Telus, Lululemon, and Tim Hortons.
The report says that the banks have rated highly because of their significant role in the Canadian economy with the Big 6 accounting for 46% of the total US$143.6 billion value of the Top 40.
The rankings are based on a range of metrics including being wise, being assertive, demonstrating social responsibility, and brand trust. The latter was the only one of these where Canada’s banks fell short of the global average although Canadians are generally more positive about the sector than their global peers.
"We're honoured to be named Canada's most valuable brand in this inaugural list," said Mary DePaoli, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, RBC. "A company's brand is one of the most enduring and defensible competitive advantages in this era, and we've been privileged to be at the centre of people's lives for 150 years. Whether that's helping clients take care of their families, realize their goals or grow successful businesses."
The BrandZ Top 10 Most Valuable Canadian Brands 2019
Room for improvement
The report says that, across all Canadian brands, consumers feel there is a lack of innovation.
"Canada's comparatively low innovation scores indicate there is a big opportunity for Canadian businesses, across all sectors, to grow their brand value by showcasing their innovation and clearly communicating how their products are better than those of their competitors," said Scott Megginson, President of Kantar Canada. "Focusing on innovation and differentiation will boost value and consumers' perceptions of what is 'premium', enabling businesses to command premium pricing and, in turn, make their brands more exportable."
The study also shows that there is more to be done on exporting brands internationally.
On average, the Top 30 brands in the ranking get just 20% of their exposure (a combination of revenue, volumes sold and profitability) outside Canada. A dramatic comparison to France where the brands in the luxury dominated ranking get 75% of their exposure overseas.
"Canadian businesses can be much bolder about exporting, given the huge scale of the U.S. market next door and the highly positive perceptions of Canada internationally. Creating brands with a strong identity and a meaningful difference from other players in the market is an important foundation for Canadian businesses that want to be a success outside the country, proven by internationally successful brands like Canada Goose and Lululemon."
Purposeful and meaningful
To be a valuable brand in 2019 means having a strong purpose.
Brands in the ranking consumers perceive as having a strong purpose are 78% more valuable than those that score poorly. Among the Top 30 brands in the Canada ranking the average score is 109, the tenth highest of the 13 market-specific rankings published by BrandZ.
Brands in the ranking that consumers see as bringing meaning to their lives in a way that is different are on average 46% more valuable than those with a low difference.
"Brand is becoming an increasingly important asset to the companies that own them, as the global market becomes ever more competitive with scores of agile and disruptive brands waiting in the wings. There is a huge opportunity for Canadian brands to improve their export performance by creating distinct communications, innovating more and improving the experience they offer," said David Roth, CEO of The Store WPP EMEA and Asia and Chairman of BrandZ.